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Looking at 2002 SLS today - Thoughts and opinions needed

Ed Hall

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My sister and husband live in Kansas City and need another car so they asked me what I recommended. I told them to look for a Buick/Oldsmobile with a 3.8L engine or a Cadillac with a 4.9 or a Cadillac year 2000 and newer. I felt that the older Northstar's were too risky due to cam failures and head bolts pulling out of the block. I could not talk them into a Buick/Oldsmobile 3.8 or a 4.9 Cadillac so they've narrowed their search down to year 2000 and newer Seville's.

Today, they are going to look at a 2002 Seville SLS with 85k miles and the owner wants $6900. They did a carfax on it and it came up clear. The car has been registered in New Jersey, Virginia and Kansas. The owner buys and resells cars that have been traded in at the dealer. Does this bring up any warning bells?

I told them to look for the obvious like whether or not the car has been maintained. I told them to check for signs us rust underneath, wear on the leather/carpets and for any signs of previous body work. What else should they check for?

Anyways, I'll report back once they look at the car today. They are going to bring money to buy the car if it checks out good.

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I recently picked up a 1988 Olds Delta 88 (3800 V6) w/65k miles and couldn't be happier with it.

I bought it from my Mom, so I knew it was well maintained.

It had a couple codes on it, but I was able to fix myself.

I put new tires on it yesterday and it really makes

a nice car.

Anyway, I hope things work out for them with the new caddy.

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Jasper has a good point.

The 3800 is a good, proven engine. Good gas mileage, easy to repair, cheap parts, parts readily available, it can be repaired anywhere.

I dont think I would recommend the Northstar on to a sister. Maybe if she could do 90% of any repairs needed.

Think rainy night, alternator pukes out. You can change that on a 3800 in 8 minutes. Done it.

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Well, they ended up buying the car. They paid $6500 cash for it which I think is not too bad for 87k miles on the odometer. It was a very smooth transaction so they're very happy. I hope that this car proves to be reliable for them. Now I have to get my brother in law to become a participant to this forum now that he's a Cadillac owner.


I recommended cars with a 3800 over the Northstar but they don't like the looks of any Olds/Buick products. I hope that with the redesign of the 2000 Northstar engine that it won't have head gasket and cam failures.





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So far they are pleased with the purchase:

Several errors came up yesterday while driving it.

1.) ABS/Traction control light came up.

2.) Low coolant message came up. It's probably time to have it's coolant changed anyways. I would not be comfortable driving to 100k miles without changing the coolant even though it has the orange stuff. They checked coolant but it was only down about an inch from the top.

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